Gov. Bev Perdue has proclaimed September as Emergency Preparedness Month to encourage North Carolinians to prepare themselves for a variety of emergencies.

In a statement, Perdue urged all levels of the community to be prepared. She said individuals and families should have emergency plans and supplies in place, and added that cities, counties and state agencies should routinely test their response plans.

The governor said it doesn't take a major hurricane or tornado to cause extensive damage to a home or to disrupt a business. Heavy rains and severe thunderstorms in Halifax and Northampton counties last month produced extensive flooding in only a few short hours.

In 2011, North Carolina experienced 63 tornadoes, nearly half of which during the statewide outbreak on April 16. Hurricane Irene followed four months later.